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Dog Treadmill - Tips On Choosing And Using A Treadmill With Your Dog

May 22, 2008
Looking for a dog treadmill?

With the popularity of shows like the Dog Whisperer and people's hectic lifestyles, treadmills for dogs have surged in popularity.

Walking your dog on a treadmill is not a substitute for a good long outdoor walk. However it can help to drain some of your dog's extra energy.

It's a great tool on blizzard or rainstorm days when you can't get out. And for dogs that have weight problems, it can help them trim down and stave off other diseases that come with extra weight (diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc.).

While there are specialized treadmills built for dogs, most people want a treadmill that can do double duty - one that both you and your dog can use. Plus specialized dog treadmills can be just as expensive as a regular treadmill - sometimes more.

So most people decide to go with a regular treadmill and train their dogs to walk on it.

However there are several things to know so you don't waste money or run into problems. This article will tell you what to look for when choosing a treadmill for your pooch and tips for training your dog to walk on it:

#1 Choose the Proper Belt Length.

Treadmill belts range from 50" to 62". If you have a smaller dog like a poodle or terrier you probably don't need to choose a longer belt, since these breeds aren't very long.

However the larger (and longer) your dog, the longer your belt needs to be so your poor pooch won't feel like he's falling off the treadmill.

For example, I have a 120 lb very long rottweiler that measures about 44 inches from nose to bum. Given that he can get lazy sometimes and fall back a bit, he needs all of the 60" belt on my treadmill.

While treadmills with longer belts can be more expensive, you don't have to spend a lot if you look around and compare models. For example, you may not need a big flashy console (your dog certainly doesn't care). So you may be able to get a longer belt, but skip those extra options and save some money.

#2 Keep Your Treadmill Clean.

Unfortunately your dog will shed (and probably drool) over your treadmill while he's walking. Hair, dirt and dust are the number one enemies to treadmill maintenance.

Make sure you wipe down your treadmill and keep it clean on a regular basis, especially after your dog uses it. This will help keep it in proper running condition and save you unnecessary repair bills.

#3 Watch Those Paws!

Dogs, especially the larger ones, can really tear up a treadbelt if their claws are not properly clipped. If you want to save the integrity of your treadbelt, make sure to keep your dog's paws properly trimmed down.

#4 Start Slow and Make it a Positive Experience.

I recommend you talk to a professional trainer before you try to train your dog to walk on a treadmill. However from my experience, here are some tips.

We started out to make the treadmill a positive experience for our dog. At first we just trained him to get up and sit on the treadbelt (no walking yet). He then got a treat.

After a few days, he was running eagerly to sit on the treadmill and get his treat. Then I kept his leash on (so I could keep him in place) and started the treadmill very slowly (0.5 mph).

After a few minutes we stopped and he got another treat. This was repeated until he seemed comfortable with the experience

Then we increased the speed little by little - all the time reinforcing with treats and praise. Again, I'm not a dog trainer and this doesn't substitute for professional advice, but it worked for us.

So those are 4 tips when looking at a dog treadmill. Remember that treadmill walking is not a substitute for a good outdoor walk. However for those times you need to drain extra energy from your dog or you just can't make it outside, a treadmill is a great tool to have.

Please Note: This article contains tips on selecting and using a treadmill for your dog. It is in no way intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

Before buying or using any treadmill with your dog, please consult a dog training expert.
About the Author
Kathryn ONeill writes for Treadmill Reviews - a consumer oriented website focusing on the home treadmill market. For an easy comparison chart of treadmill belts and other features, check out the Treadmill Comparison tool.
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